Stress & Cannabis: Here’s What We Know

Stress Cannabis Natural Remedies

We hear a lot about how stressful life is now and how we need to manage our stress to avoid physical consequences. But do you have any idea how it all works? What role does cannabis play in this?

What Causes Stress?

The body’s response to an external challenge or demand is known as stress. It might be triggered by an incident or a thought that makes a person feel annoyed, furious, worried, or afraid.

What Does Stress Do?

Stress has an influence on numerous biological systems and has a wide range of consequences. Stress hormones–”fight-or-flight” substances including cortisol releasing hormone, cortisol, and catecholamines–are released when there is a feeling of stress, anger, or fear.

Cortisol raises blood glucose levels, increases glucose usage in the brain, and raises the availability of chemicals that heal tissues in the event of an injury. Non-essential activities (immune system, metabolism, nutrition absorption) are also curtailed since energy invested unnecessarily reduces energy available for “fight-or-flight.”

The “fight-or-flight” reaction also releases catecholamines (adrenaline/epinephrine, noradrenaline/norepinephrine). Anxiety, fast pulse, heart palpitations, shaking, raised blood pressure, perspiration, a pale complexion, weight loss, and severe headaches are all symptoms of high levels of adrenaline. 

Panic attacks, hyperactivity, shaking, sweating, high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, a pale face, severe headaches, heart and kidney damage, lethargy and lack of energy, orthostatic hypotension (blood pressure drop when standing up), lack of concentration, ADHD, and depression are all symptoms of high Noradrenaline levels.

An individual’s muscles stiffen up in response to stress. A continual state of guardedness results from chronic stress. Tension and migraine headaches, as well as muscle discomfort, can result from this, particularly in the lower back and upper extremities. People with asthma and COPD have more breathing issues as a result of stress, and this muscle tightness and hyperventilation can contribute to panic episodes.

What Is The Effect Of Stress?

The cardiovascular system reacts to increased stress by raising blood pressure, increasing the power of cardiac contractions, and dilatation of blood vessels in big muscles, such as the leg muscles that are responsible for sprinting. 

What Does Chronic Stress Do?

Chronic stress raises blood pressure, which is referred to as hypertension and raises the risk of MI (heart attack) and stroke. Inflammation of the lining of the coronary arteries is also on the rise, which can lead to cardiovascular disease and obstruction.

Stress has an effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which governs the endocrine stress response in the endocrine system. Reduced inflammation-impaired communication between the immune system and the HPA axis is influenced by appropriate glucocorticoid control. Chronic exhaustion, diabetes, obesity, depression, and a range of immunological problems are all symptoms of this system being depleted.

These substances have an effect on the neurons that communicate with the brain in the GI system (digestive). Bloating, soreness, and discomfort are all symptoms of stress. It can cause changes in gut microbes, which can have an impact on mood. Stress can cause reflux and soreness in the esophagus.

It causes discomfort, bloating, nausea, and vomiting in the stomach, as well as appetite changes, spasms, gas, and burping. Excessive stress causes diarrhea and constipation in the intestines, as well as muscular spasms, discomfort, increased gas, and a weakening of the intestinal barrier, which can allow gut bacteria to leak. Irritable bowel syndrome and irritable bowel conditions are made worse by stress.

The brain and spinal cord (central nervous system), as well as the autonomic and somatic nervous systems, are all affected by stress in the nervous system (peripheral nervous system). The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are part of the autonomic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system increases heart rate, dilates bronchial passages, decreases large intestine motility, constricts blood vessels, dilates pupils, activates goosebumps, causes perspiration, and raises blood pressure when activated. Because it promotes digestion, accelerates metabolism, and helps the body relax, the parasympathetic nervous system governs the body’s capacity to relax, leading to the “rest and digest state.”

Stress and associated sympathetic nervous system activation in the male reproductive system causes a rise in cortisol, which impairs sexual performance, lowers desire, and leads to erectile dysfunction, impotence, reduced sperm production, and poor sperm motility and morphology. Chronic stress in women causes irregular and missing periods, increased discomfort during periods, changes in the duration of the menstrual cycle, diminished libido, and impaired ability to conceive. Postpartum adjustment and connection between mother and child are also harmed by stress. It also worsens PMS and menopausal symptoms.

Stress and sleep

Stress also affects sleep, making it harder to fall asleep, remain asleep, get up early, and have a disturbed sleep pattern. This creates a vicious cycle, since lack of sleep increases stress, worsening the situation.

Cannabis has received minimal research since it is a Schedule 1 substance, meaning it has a high risk of misuse and/or addiction and no FDA-approved medicinal use. Nonetheless, there is a wealth of factual evidence detailing the pharmacological effects of cannabis as a stress reliever that spans thousands of years. Patients report less racing thoughts and the ability to dissociate a little from the cognitive distortions that can fuel PTSD and anxiety symptoms, allowing them to be curious and wonder about the beliefs and conclusions that fuel their anxiety, and possibly determine that they are based on false beliefs and incorrect interpretations. Cannabis has been shown to enhance sleep, implying that it might help with mental health. It has been proven to lower blood pressure and inflammation, prevent drug and alcohol relapse, treat anxiety symptoms, improve GI functioning by stabilizing IBD symptoms, decrease nausea and muscular spasms, decrease pain, and boost relaxation, all of which contribute to better sleep.

By helping patients to feel at ease with people and so benefit from a supportive social network, cannabis can increase social functioning and social support. It has the potential to help individuals have more enjoyment in their lives. Cannabis helps individuals manage, to accept change and uncertainty without the discomforts associated with increasing stress, during these difficult times of political and social upheaval, environmental catastrophes, war, and financial instability. Cannabis is a fantastic alternative for stress relief because of its high tolerance and low toxicity.

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Veterans For Healing Global (VFHG) is dedicated to improving the lives of veterans and their families through client-focused, evidence-based cannabis patient services and products.


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